Wednesday, November 30, 2011

George White, 1892-1968

This isn't really a birthday post, since George White was born in March, but tomorrow sees what looks to be the only airing of a movie that the Fox Movie Channel last pulled out of the vault several years ago: George White's 1935 Scandals, tomorrow morning at 7:30 AM on FMC.

White wasn't very involved in the movies; in fact, White was a fairly prominent Broadway producer starting back in the late 1910s. He produced a popular revue show unsurprisingly called George White's Scandals, which the year in question also part of the title. The movie which is airing tomorrow morning is a movie version of the revue, with a fairly thin framing story about White (who actually appears as himself in the movie as well as directing it) travelling down south and finding some novelty acts for his revue. They go back north with him to New York, where they become stars. But they let fame go to their heads. Everything ends happily, however, with a bunch of musical numbers thrown in for good measure.

Although it's a film that's not nearly as good as some of the Warner Bros musicals from the early Busby Berkeley era, and doesn't have the polish of the MGM musicals from the late 1930s, George White's 1935 Scandals is still interesting for having one of the earliest screen appearances of Eleanor Powell, who does a "novelty" dancing act. In fact, this is the film which got her her contract over at MGM, where she wen't on to become fairly famous. The female star of the film isn't Powell, but Alice Faye, a Fox contract player whom White had discovered several years earlier when he cast her in the Broadway version Scandals of 1931. As for Faye's film career, it took off when White took his Scandals to Hollywood, but not in 1935; instead, Faye's first movie was the Scandals of 1934, which also starred Rudy Vallee (who was also in the 1931 Scandals with Faye).

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